Kraus, L., Seitz, N.-N._e, Shield, K.D., Gmel, G., Rehm, J.

Quantifying harms to others due to alcohol consumption in Germany: a register-based study


BMC Medicine 17 (59), 1-9. doi: 10.1186/s12916-019-1290-0

Full Article, open access:


The consumption of alcohol increases the risk of drinkers harming others. The extent of alcohol’s morbidity and mortality harms to others in Germany in 2014 was estimated for (1) fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) or fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) among newborns, (2) road traffic fatalities, and (3) interpersonal violence-related deaths.


The incidences of FAS and FASD were estimated by means of a meta-analytical approach, combining data on alcohol use during pregnancy and the risk relationship between alcohol consumption during pregnancy and FAS/FASD. In order to estimate alcohol-attributable road traffic fatalities and interpersonal violence due to the drinking of others, an attributable fraction methodology was applied to cause-of-death statistics for road traffic and interpersonal violence-related deaths.


For 2014, the incidences of FAS and FASD were estimated at 41 children per 10,000 live births (95% CI 24; 63) and 177 children per 10,000 live births (95% CI 135; 320), or 2930 (95% CI 1720; 4500) and 12,650 (95% CI 9650; 23,310) children, respectively. Furthermore, alcohol was estimated to be responsible for 1214 (95% CI 1141; 1287) third-party road traffic fatalities and 55 (95% CI 46; 64) deaths from interpersonal violence, representing 45.1% of all third-party road traffic fatalities and 14.9% of all interpersonal violence deaths.


These study’s estimates indicate there is a substantial degree of health harm to third parties caused by alcohol in Germany. While more research on harms to others caused by alcohol is needed to provide comprehensive estimates, the results indicate a need for effective prevention.


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